Wine of Arezzo hills
The Road of Wine Terre di Arezzo guides the enotourist into Tuscany's heart and to enjoy its excellent wines and high quality gastronomic delights.
The Road of Wine Terre di Arezzo guides the enotourist into Tuscany’s heart, to admire the gentle landscapes, the traditional crafts, and to enjoy its excellent wines and high quality gastronomic delights. The route winds for about 200km through various wine-growing areas that are famous for the following wines: Chianti DOCG, Chianti Colli Aretini DOCG, Colli Etruria Centrale DOC, Valdichiana DOC and Cortona DOC as well as Vinsanto of Chianti DOC and Vinsanto of Chianti Colli Aretini. This typically Tuscan countryside boasts not only vineyards, olive groves, tobacco plantations, chestnut trees and forests, as the visitor may also enjoy the several artistic and archaeological attractions to be found along the way. We set off from S. Giovanni Valdarno, birthplace of Masaccio, and we head towards Montevarchi, where the Cavriglia nature route begins. An incredible variety of environments and forms strikes the visitor; old mining excavations and natural erosion have created a lunar landscape with craters that recall the Pliocene origins. Indeed, it is easy to imagine the tropical forest and the lake in which, still today, fossils of tigers, hyenas and mammoths are uncovered.
The vine rows are grown on dry-stone dyke terraces, surrounded by little medieval villages and castles. Near Cavriglia it is possible to find the Fineschi Rose Garden, with over 8,55 varieties of roses, and the Cavriglia Park in the heart of the Chiantigiani mountains. Then we return to the main road towards Mercatale Valdarno and go on among vineyards and landmarks like the Galatrona Tower and the Petrolo country church as far as Bucine. Another itinerary – among castles and olive groves – leading to Pergine and Montozzi starts at the crossroads at Capannole.
Here, splendid extra virgin olive oil is extracted from centuries-old trees. A marvellous view of the whole Valdarno area on one side, and of Valdichiana Aretina on the other, can be admired from a rock at Civitella. We set out from the crossroads at Capannole towards the heart of Valdambra, where we find the Cennina Castle, the ancient Ruoti Abbey and little villages dotted among the hills. A further itinerary, the “Montebenichi road”, begins at Ambra and leads through an evocative hilly scenery where a plethora of rural buildings harmonise perfectly with the fabric of the land, that today is largely given over to holiday farmhouses. Set among vineyards and olive groves are the Church of Saint Maria in Altaserra, the village containing the Palazzo known both as Stendardi and as of Captain Goro da Montebenichi (who served under “Giovanni dalle Bande Nere” in the sixteenth century), and the square with its castle restored in Arragon style at the beginning of the century. From Ambra, continuing on the vine-lined main road towards Colonna del Grillo, we head towards Monte S. Savino, passing the historic Gargonza Castle. Then the route takes the direction of Foiano and Lucignano, with its interesting spiral form. After a brief stop to admire the Ammannati Temple in Pozzo di Chiana, we ascend to Cortona, which is famous for its Etruscan and Roman remains, the Museum of the Etruscan Academy and the wonderful view over the whole Valdichiana region.
Now we are in the heart of Valdichiana, with another fascinating itinerary taking us among vineyards, olive groves and the imposing houses that are a testimony to the land reclaiming project implemented by Granduca Leopoldo (Grand Duke Leopold). Then we proceed along the Umbro Casentinese road, via Castiglion Fiorentino, in which we find a wonderful square that bears witness to Sangallo’s genius, and then on to Arezzo. This medieval town is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves and bestrides four valleys which are rich in history and culture, as well as farm produce of the highest quality. The renowned Antique Fair, which takes place every month in the historic town centre, is a must. Two museums stand out: the Etruscan Museum, housed in a convent built atop a Roman amphitheatre, and the well-furnished Medieval Gallery, which contains works by Piero della Francesca, Giorgio Vasari, and Andrea della Robbia, to name but a few.
From Arezzo, the provincial “Sette Ponti” road (road of seven bridges) winds along the foothills of the Pratomagno. The beautiful terraced vineyards reflect perfect harmony between man and nature. Along this route we pass through the fortified rural town of Boro and Loro Ciuffenna, near which is the Romanesque church of Gropina. Finally we return to San Giovanni Valdarno via Castelfranco. Further information is available at the “Punto di Informazione” (information centre) situated in Arezzo’s stunning Piazza Grande as well as in various information offices scattered throughout the area. This itinerary provides the opportunity of appreciating all the riches that this area offers, as well as acquainting the visitor with Arezzo’s wines, cuisine, people, hospitality, traditions, natural attractions and art. The visitor will come away with a lasting impression of the high quality of life to be enjoyed in AREZZO COUNTRY.